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Improve your child's health

Coronavirus (COVID-19): children's health updates

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View information, support and advice to help your child become more active and healthy.

Foodbanks, foodclubs and food schemes

Find out how and where to get help.

How much exercise should children do?Healthy Heroes family

To lead healthier lives, children aged 5–18 should do at least 1 hour of moderate to vigorous intensity physical activity every day.

Research shows physical activity has lots of benefits including:

  • Better health, balance, strength and mobility
  • Boosts mental wellbeing and energy
  • Stronger bones and muscles
  • Improved sleep
  • A sense of achievement
  • More independence in later life

Activities to help get children moving

Physical activity doesn’t have to be a chore you can make it fun for all the family. Here are some of the many ways children can get active in the Rochdale borough:

What should children eat?

Everyday a child should eat a mixture of food groups and portions can be measured using their hands. As your child grows so will their hand and their recommended portion size.

  • Bread, rice, potatoes and pasta - 6 to 8 clenched fist sized portions per day ( 4 portions for under 5s)
  • Fruit and vegetables - 5 handful sized portions per day
  • Meat, fish, eggs and beans - 2 or 3 palm sized portions per day
  • Milk and dairy - index and middle finger sized portions per day
  • High-fat/High sugar foods - 0 to 2 thumb sized portions per day (these are not needed)

What if I don't have the time or money to cook healthily?

Many of us find achieving the balance difficult. After a long day it can be tempting to grab the first ready meal on the supermarket shelf or reheat a microwave meal for the family. This is okay occasionally - but the nutrition labels on these foods show that many contain high levels of fat, sugar and salt, and not much fibre, vitamins and minerals.

Healthy eating can be easy and doesn't have to be expensive, here are some handy tips to healthy eating:

  • The trick to achieving a good balance is to plan ahead for your meals
  • Try to cook from scratch, or use a combination of some fresh and some convenience foods, more often than relying on takeaways or ready meals
  • Always include vegetables and a starchy food at the main meal to provide satisfying portions without too much fat
  • Write a shopping list based on your planned meals
  • Build in slow cook or fast cook choices for your busy days

Be Food Smart app - see how much fat and sugar is in your food

Do you know how much salt, sugar and saturated fat is in everyday food and drink?

The Change4Life Be Food Smart app can help you take control of your children's diets and make healthier choices. It works by scanning the barcode of products, revealing the total sugar, saturated fat and salt inside and providing hints and tips adults plus fun food detectives activities for kids.

The Be Food Smart app is available from the iTunes store or Google Play

iTunes buttonGoogle play button

Recipe cards from Healthy Heroes

The Healthy Heroes have shared their favourite recipes with us. Why don't you give them a try:

Change4life has more healthy recipes and information about healthy eating.

Get help to improve your child's health

The best time to start building healthy habits is during the early years of a child's life and we have programmes that can help:

  • Healthy Lifestyles Team - all children with a BMI over the 91st centile will automatically be offered support as the school nursing team will refer them. GPs and practice nurses can also make referrals for overweight children. If you think your child needs help you can also contact the team directly.
  • Download the HENRY group programme leaflet (119kb pdf) - Health, Exercise and Nutrition for the Really Young (HENRY) programme is a fun, interactive and informative 8-week course for parents and carers with children aged under 5. The course gives all parents and carers ideas about healthy living for the whole family.
  • Energy Club - this is made up of fun, educational and active sessions for the whole family over 12 weeks to promote a healthy lifestyle. The Energy Club includes interesting and interactive nutrition education sessions for parents/carers as well as physical activity sessions for the children - the whole family learning and having fun together.
  • Junior Skills - this is a fun and engaging session for children aged 5-12. This is a continuation from the Energy Club where the sessions will focus on the core fundamentals of health and fitness for children. The children will get to test out their balance, speed, strength, agility, co-ordination and teamwork through a variety of fun games and activities. Every 4 weeks a new club will come into the group, and the children will get to try out new activities and sports such as judo, tennis, trampolining, climbing and much more. Junior Skills is another step towards a healthy and more active lifestyle for all children to enjoy.
  • Early Help team - you can also get advice about your child's health from the Early Help team.
Email to request help

Borrow free Healthy Heroes materials

Rochelle the Healthy Hero. Professionals or organisations that work with children and families can borrow these free Healthy Heroes materials for any event related to child or family health. 

  • Healthy Heroes cardboard cut-out - measures 8ft by 5ft and includes wipe-clean speech bubbles so you can write personalised messages.
  • Rochelle the Healthy Hero costume - life-sized, high quality and durable costume. It's made to fit all heights and builds and includes an inbuilt fan for longer performance. You'll need to provide your own AA batteries for the fan.

To request any of these materials, please email us. In your email include a date and description of your event, the name of your organisation and your contact details.

Email to request our materials

Download free Healthy Heroes resources

Download free resources you may wish to use for your campaign, event or presentation.

Related pages


01706 925859

Phone: Monday-Friday 9am-4.30pm.

Healthy Lifestyle Team
Floor 3, Number One Riverside
Smith Street
Rochdale OL16 1XU